I started a new project for fun... yes, for fun. I know, I know, like I don't have enough to do. It just hit me the other night when I was filming the action outside my apartment. It's called, The Urban Balcony. Mainly just a project on Instagram to see where it can go, but of course I bought the url, then reserved the social networks and a gmail account, just in case something wild happens and there's a demand for it. Weird, I know, but I just have a thing for urban skylines and city views. I especially love a city at night and into the early morning hours. There is just something so romantic about it. It could be the night owl in me, but I just find a sleeping city incredibly romantic and calming. My favorite moments in the 24 hours time period, by far.
Anyway, feel free to follow my Urban Balcony adventures on Instagram here -> @TheUrbanBalcony and don't forget to use the hashtag #UrbanBalcony.
It's 3:34am... time for bed.
Thanks for the support!
8 Steps To Sales Nirvana :: How Inbound Marketing Can Supercharge Your Direct Booking & Lead Generation
Originally posted at Lure Agency written by Melissa Rautenberg.
Let’s recap from a recent blog post we published last month regarding 3 Revenue Affecting Strategies Every Hotelier Should Know. In my short blurb I gave an overview on what inbound marketing is, sometimes referred to as content marketing, and I promised to elaborate on how strategies and tactics work together to help drive traffic and leads back to your website. Below I put together an 8 step guide to better help hoteliers understand what is meant by an inbound marketing plan and how it can benefit your property.
Step 1: Content – It all starts at the hub of your online presence, your website. Having engaging and informational copy, videos, pictures, stories, reviews, etc. Content is anything that's simulating to the viewer. It's the key element to inbound marketing. It keeps visitors on your site and builds authority to your hotels online presence. Travelers are always searching for information about the surrounding area, such as where to eat, what attractions to visit, local festivals, property amenities, and the list goes on. Updating your website pages and blog posts will bring visitors to your site from external sources, such as social media and search engines.
Step 2: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – It’s important to optimize your content everywhere it goes on the web. Your keywords, personas, title tags, and meta descriptions fall are part of your SEO strategy. From your website content, social media campaigns, pay per click ads to email marketing, your keywords, personas, tags and descriptions for every campaign should be congruent across all platforms from start to finish.
Step 3: Pay Per Click (PPC) – It’s time to stop thinking that the internet is this magical land that gives away free conversions. Maybe a long, long time ago in a far away internet land when AOL was cool, that was the case, but that’s not the case today. Pay per click advertising isn’t just something the big boy brands are using on Google, Bing and Yahoo. PPC is popping up all over the internet, including your social media platforms. So use those keywords, target those personas, and tweak those audiences to get the best results possible.
Step 4: Social Media (SM) – It used to be cute when your kids used these platforms to talk to their friends and small businesses were able to write an update and everyone who liked or followed their page saw the updates, but it’s not cute anymore. It’s a business, and just like any other business you need to pay to play if you want to see real results. Those personas and keywords we talked about? Yup, they come back again. Same idea as PPC. Use those keywords, target those personas, and tweak those audiences to get the best results possible.
Step 5: Lead Generation Forms – Now that you’ve gotten your target audience back to your website and reading your blog, cool. Now what? Get them to connect with your brand. Get them to sign up. Get them to want more content from you. Don’t just leave a blog sitting there will no call to action (CTA). Are you just writing to write? Heck no. If you’re anything like me, you hate writing. So don’t let your hard develop words go to waste. End that blog with a CTA to sign up and learn more about the new happenings at your hotel and in your area.
Step 6: Email Marketing – It’s hard to get people to keep coming back to your website to check for new content. We live in a world where everyone sees shiny new pennies and loses focus pretty dang easy. So, email marketing is going to be your golden ticket. It reminds your contact list that you still exist, that you’re still writing valuable content they need, and it fosters a deeper relationship between you and your audience.
Step 7: Inbound Sales Platforms – You are all going to hate me for this… without an inbound sales platform, don’t even put forth effort doing any of the above steps. Without a marketing management system like Lure's Sales Platform connected to your website, you’re completely missing out on ton of qualified leads to nurture. The Sales Platform gathers website analytics from all over in one web, social media, search engines, etc. It also stores your contact list, sends emails, and updates you on the hot leads coming to your site.
Step 8: Analytics – Let’s face it, data and analytics can be overwhelming. So why are you going to gather data from multiple different platforms and try to piece together what happened in your campaign and what you should do moving forward? The inbound sales platform gathers all the analytics coming into your site from all over the web. Cut yourself some slack and add these platforms to your website already.
I'm a joker. I'm sarcastic. I'm silly, sensitive, clumsy, flakey, tough, and mighty strong. I like a good joke as much as the next person. I analyze people regularly to understand where they've been and where they're coming from. I stand up for myself. I say my piece, sometimes when people don't want to hear it. I listen to people, even when I don't agree. I challenge. I debate. I ask questions. I let people down. I make people proud. I learn something new every day. I grow every day. I'm always striving to make a better me that I can be!
So, with all that being said, in light of all the social strain that is going on in America because of the Ferguson trial and riots, I want to share the best thing that happen to me yesterday, Thanksgiving 2014:
I am incredibly thankful. Thankful for all the amazing people I got to run next to yesterday. Thankful because no matter what race, color, religion, gender, body type or sexual orientation, we ran next to each other with smiles and PRIDE. We were prideful because we were all striving for the same thing, to Run for the Hungry. Thousands of neighbors sweat next each other, high-fived each other, pushed each other along, and hugged each other. I loved every minute of it because, THAT is how every day should be!
The recent Ferguson case has shown the worst in some people. Here is my opinion on why...
What upsets me the most is how surprised I am to see so many people I thought equally respected others whether they were black, white, Asian, Puerto Rican, Mexican, African, Indian, male, female, old, young, gay, straight, transgender, whatever it may be, instantly turn to finger pointing, name calling, hatred, violence and racism instead of LOVE. It hurts my heart. All I see is bullying. If this continues this country will continue to foster further generations of bigots. So many people in our recent history have risked their lives to get us to where we are today. Let them continue to guide us. Let us look forward. Let us keep moving. And let us keep loving. Hatred is a learned behavior. Please stop teaching it. Just look how far we've come over the last few decades. Sure, we won't win every battle, but if we stick together WE WILL set the right examples and guide better morals for the future. We must stop bullying each other right now! This digression takes away everyone's powers and rights. If you want change for yourself and for generations to come, you need to be the change! BE THE CHANGE you want to see in this world, as Gandhi said. Please, don't continue to be the cause like so many others. This world needs leaders. Not followers. BE THE CHANGE AND OWN IT.
We could all learn a lesson from the students at East Lake High School in San Diego, CA that posted this banner at their school. Don't you think?
Management, as defined by businessdictionary.com is, 1. The organization and coordination of the activities of a business in order to achieve defined objectives, and 2. The directors and managers who have the power and responsibility to make decisions and oversee the enterprise.” From my experience and opinion, management is the made up of a team of individuals that take the vision of a company, craft a process of best practices to carry out that vision, and effectively lead their employees to the end goal.
Management is important for a number of reasons. One important reason would be to keep the bigger picture of a company in line with the day to day workers, while simultaneously being able to keep the day to day workers motivated to accomplish the bigger picture over a long period of time. Each employee must have the inspiration and motivation to keep chugging along day after day. Doing so will create a positive experience for employees, thus creating a positive experience for customers and clients.
Management has evolved greatly in the past two decades, but rapidly since the start of the 21st century. According to Walter Kiechel III, from Harvard Business School, and whom I tend to agree with, "Over the last two decades of the 20th century, business schools revised their mission from 'educating general managers' to 'helping leaders develop'." Moving forward in the 21st century, not all industry managers have caught on to this mission. I fear that with the market the way it is today, and with more people branching out to start their own businesses, that the skills are there to do a job or function, but the important skills needed to lead a business and employees to success within a healthy environment are lacking. The people that are left behind in companies are being promoted to management from within niche skills, but are not qualified to innovate the vision of the company, manage a team, or spearhead motivation towards the end goal. Kiechel III continues on by saying, "Innovation is where satisfying the fierce demands of the market depends, as never before, on eliciting the best from the humanity of production. No one yet appears to have been able to automate the invention of the new or to come up with machine-replicable substitutes for the spark of human imagination. Perhaps the biggest managerial challenge facing the 21st-century company will be finding ways to free that spark, resident in employees, from the organisation’s tidal pull to keep doing the same old things." To me, Kiechel III is saying that today's workforce is spread thin, the best of the creative and innovative are not being used to their fullest potential due to not being able to free up those who spark that natural human imagination. Thus, leaving organizations to continue to be reactive as opposed to proactive.
Kiechel III, (2012). Smart company: How management style has evolved across the centuries.Retrieved from: http://www.smartcompany.com.au/leadership/management/29099-how-management-style-has-evolved-across-the-centuries.html?
WebFinance, Inc, (2014). Businessdictionary.com; definition of management. Retrieved from: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/management.html